Sailor Hutton signs with Boise State

Sailor Hutton signs her letter of intent to compete for Boise State University as her parents, Brent and Tricia, look on during a signing ceremony Wednesday at Bandon High School. 

Amy Moss Strong, The World

BANDON — Sailor Hutton started running races when she was young. By the time she was in middle school, she realized she wanted the sport to be part of her future.

“Ever since I started running in junior high I was really excited about going on to college,” she said.

Hutton made that a reality Wednesday, when she signed a letter of intent to compete for Boise State University.

She picked the Broncos over the University of Idaho, which offered a better scholarship, because Boise State offers medical imaging as a major.

Hutton has won multiple state titles on the track to go with a state championship and three runner-up finishes in cross country.

At Boise State, she will be joining a strong program where she will have plenty of other runners at or above her level.

“They have a really strong girls team,” she said. “That’s a different experience for me. I think I will be able to improve quite a bit there.”

Boise State entered the picture as a possible destination during the summer, Hutton said. A visit to the school helped in her decision.

“I got to hang out with the team quite a bit,” she said. “I got to be at practice with them.”

The University of Portland also showed some interest, but Hutton narrowed her choice to the two schools in Idaho. The University of Idaho offered a full ride, while Boise State will pay tuition and fees, with the chance for a better scholarship if she becomes a regular contributor.

Hutton said it was easy to say yes to Boise State, but hard to say no to Idaho.

Her decision made her mom, Tricia, proud.

“She had an opportunity to run at another college for free and she chose the harder road,” Tricia said. “She looked for her academics, too. And she wanted to earn a shot on the team.

“I’m excited for her.”

Hutton’s dad and high school coach, Brent, said he likes what Boise State has to offer, both athletically and academically.

“They have great tutoring that is available to her,” he said. “She has to be in there so many hours her freshman year.”

Meanwhile, the distance coach will work with Hutton to figure out what methods of training work best for her to improve.

“The coach is committed to bringing her along at the right speed,” Brent said. “Freshman year is a break-in year.”

Brent said he expects his daughter to thrive at the college level.

“I think she’s prepared for it,” he said.

That won’t make next fall easy for the family, though.

“She definitely will be missed in the family,” Tricia said.

First, Hutton has the rest of high school to look forward to. She’s among the leading students in her class with a good chance to be valedictorian and is looking ahead to track season.

“I’m relieved and excited to get my decision (for college) over with,” she said. “I can keep focusing on training and I know there is a goal in the future.”